Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Font Size

Understanding Lice and Scabies -- Prevention

How Can I Prevent Lice?

Preventing re-infestation with lice is as important as initial treatment. This is especially true for head lice, which generally spread from person to person via direct head or hair contact. If you discover lice or nits on your child, notify school or day care authorities at once, since classmates are likely to be infected.

The CDC recommends these additional steps to prevent and control the spread of lice:

Recommended Related to Skin Problems & Treatments

Frostbite Treatment and Prevention: FAQ

When wintry weather settles in, how do you make sure that when Jack Frost nips at your nose you don’t end up with frostbite? Plan ahead to make sure you're prepared for the winter weather, emergency medicine specialist Thomas Tallman, DO, tells WebMD. Tallman has seen more than his share of cold-weather injuries as a staff physician at the Cleveland Clinic's Emergency Services Institute and as an on-call doctor at the football games of the Cleveland Browns. "When you're wet or exposed to high...

Read the Frostbite Treatment and Prevention: FAQ article > >

  • Don't share clothing, hats, hair accessories, towels, and brushes.
  • Don't lie on beds, couches, carpets, pillows that have been in contact with an infested person recently.
  • Wash clothing and bedding used by an infested person in hot water in the washing machine and high heat in a dryer. If items can't be washed, they can be dry cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks.
  • Vacuum areas that have been in contact with an infested person (such as furniture and floors).
  • Close contacts of an infested person should be examined and treated if infested.
  • Do not use pesticide sprays or fogs since they are not necessary for head lice and can be harmful if inhaled or absorbed by the skin.

 

Call Your Doctor About Lice If:

Call your doctor if you need help getting rid of lice or if scratching has led to skin infection.

How Can I Prevent Scabies?

The best way to prevent getting scabies is to avoid contact with the mite. Transmission is generally by direct, prolonged contact with the skin of someone who is infested. A severe form of scabies, known as crusted scabies, is especially contagious but usually occurs only in those who are otherwise severely debilitated. The CDC recommends the following tips to prevent scabies infestation and control its spread:

  • Avoid direct skin-to-skin contact with someone who is infested.
  • Avoid items like bedding or clothing recently used by an infested person.
  • Household members of an infested person, or others who have been exposed, should be treated.
  • Wash clothing and bedding used by an infested person in the previous 24 hours in hot water in the washing machine and high heat in a dryer. If items can't be washed, they can be dry cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks.
  • Do not use pesticide sprays or fogs since they are not necessary for scabies and can be harmful if inhaled or absorbed by the skin.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on March 14, 2014

Today on WebMD

chafing
Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
 
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
 
itchy skin
Article
shingles rash on skin
Article
 
woman with skin tag
Quiz
Woman washing face
Video
 

Itching for Relief?

Get Help With the

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

woman washing her hair in sink
Video
close up of womans bare neck
Tools
 
Feet
Slideshow
woman with face cream
Quiz